'A Tale Unfolds' at the LitFilm Fest!

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At A Tale Unfolds, we’ve seen first-hand how filmmaking has such a positive impact on getting pupils to engage with traditional literacy by combining it with a digital output. This crucial element has led us to organising the UK’s most prestigious filmmaking festival for primary schools and their pupils. LitFilmFest champions children’s writing and filmmaking.

The big event will be held on Monday 19th June 2017 at the BFI IMAX in London, and here’s why entering it could finally cause the spark which sets your English lessons on fire! Adam Mitchell, who used our War Story resource in his classroom, found that pupils are fascinated by the history of the World Wars, particularly if accessed through personal stories. 

“I have used film and video in class many times before, but the reason this project worked so well is that they were the storytellers, the experts. They knew that in order to do justice to the stories, they must feel real, not like the recount of a child. This became the driving force behind their truly incredible writing. The link between traditional and digital literacy was made obvious from the start.”

As teachers ourselves, we have always recognised the power of filmmaking in bringing to life the words on the page in a way that no other medium can do so well. One of the most interesting aspects of this is that it allows for pupils who might not be so confident in traditional literacy to shine in other areas. Adam writes,

“The reason I use film and other visual and digital literacies is because it is what I would call a literacy leveller. Students who would, in a traditional classroom, have been left in the dust of the strong writers, frustrated and stifled, are given an avenue to express their creativity without over-dependence on the written word.

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This is not ‘technology for its own sake’; nor is it simply augmenting the more traditional way of doing things. Using film in this way is a structured, scaffolded and generally collaborative way of driving student-centred learning. It is challenging; and yet the solutions to the challenges are accessible.

From a literature purist’s perspective, students still need to understand how to manipulate a viewer’s emotions and responses, how to portray feelings, how to encourage an audience to distance themselves from, or empathise with, a character, how to build suspense, how to logically structure a narrative and how to leave sufficient space within the narrative for the viewer to bring in their own experiences and imagination. They just don’t need to rely on an extensive vocabulary and strong written language skills to do it.” 

Children should be taking part in real world learning, immersing themselves in projects that have an outcome which is more adventurous than some words sitting on a page waiting to be marked and then forgotten. Filmmaking allows pupils to take learning into the third space, a place where the classroom walls melt away.

Children should be taking part in real world learning, immersing themselves in projects that have an outcome which is more adventurous than some words sitting on a page waiting to be marked and then forgotten. Filmmaking allows pupils to take learning into the third space,  a place where the classroom walls melt away.

It’s time to embrace the filmmaker inside us all. To find out how to get involved in LitFilmFest visit http://litfilmfest.com/.